Just like I believe most people have good intentions, I believe most employees genuinely strive to be productive. Most people want to be good citizens in society, and I think most employees seek excellence in the office. Yet, not all days are the same; sometimes focus is scattered, energy is low and inspiration is lost. Even the hardest-working professionals need a boost here and there to keep productivity high.
Think about the software programs that your business uses to operate. Perhaps you ensure direct mail marketing deliverability with address verification at QAS.com. Your accounting and finances stay on target with Intuit® QuickBooks. Your headcount planning and forecasting rely on Agentnoon for accuracy. You integrated ANCILE solutions software with applications that help increase employee productivity. Business software serves its purpose, sure, but approaching productivity with interpersonal solutions holds employees accountable on a personal level and establishes true feelings of value and appreciation.
TIME Magazine’s Small Business Tip of the Day offers low-cost solutions for improving productivity in the workplace that focus on recognition, perks and incentives. Maryalene LaPonsie of Small Business Computing explains that “an employee-recognition program is an easy way to boost morale and productivity.”
Also, face-to-face recognition has a direct effect on an employee’s morale. A vocal job well done provides a sense of accomplishment, which encourages an employee to keep excelling so positive feedback and feelings return.
Although verbal compliments or thoughtful emails are effective, gestures of appreciation also include:
- Complimentary breakfast and Starbucks coffee
- Gift certificates
- Small gifts such as a t-shirt or mug with the company logo
Telecommuting increases employee satisfaction, for one, which enhances productivity. Online children’s consignment store tredUP co-founder and CEO, James Reinhart, tells Gigaom.com that his business enforces a mandatory “work from home Wednesday” that has actually increased their numbers in productivity and they’ve seen an increase in customer satisfaction.
In a Gigaom webisode video, Reinhart explains that, for startup businesses, it’s all about execution and there’s not enough thinking. In a startup environment, expectations are high and workflow moves fast. Reinhart asked his employees to step back and while at home, think about what they were trying to accomplish at work. A work-from-home Wednesdays policy went into effect thereafter.
Reinhart’s employees work a traditional workday on Wednesdays, yet everyone has the freedom to work from any location. Especially now with cloud computing, remotely working, collaborating and communicating is more efficient and accessible than ever. TredUP employees also have flexibility and can wake up a little later than usual, for example.
According to Reinhart, work-from-home Wednesdays also provides employees with the mid-week opportunity to:
- Feel refreshed and take a deep breath after long-hour days
- Appreciate and take advantage of time away from distractions in an open office space
- Refocus outside of the office walls and concentrate on a specific problem
- Be alone and think deeply about that they’re trying to solve at work
Most importantly for tredUP, productivity has been extraordinary. Reinhart says, “we actually get more productivity from people out of that day because they’re actually a little bit more focused.”
Although successful and effective, Reinhart does not recommend work-from-home Fridays because work-from-home Fridays extends into 3 o’clock happy hour.
This is the guest-post by Karen Kennedy
Former CEO of a children’s learning software company, Karen loves sharing her tips on management and how to get your startup running.